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Can anyone seriously find fault with anything he said? No doubt some of you will!

I think this is very welcome Malcolm. I just wish it had been initiated a long time ago.

The criticism is the carefully chosen word 'restrain' instead of reduce.

Government spending needs to be reduced, not increased.

Cameron is still pledging to increase the size of the state, just at a slower rate.

The actual difference in Cameron's position, based on the much lower spending forecasts announced by Labour for 2011 onwards is actually too small to register as a difference.

If every minister is going to be asked to find savings then the line that Cameron as been putting forward that there will not be cuts in health and education is plainly a lie.

"Lower spending is the only way of avoiding higher taxes"

Correct. So we need an independent costs and benefits analysis produced of our membership of the European Union and a clear choice given to the public as to whether they support the status quo or EFTA membership which is immensely cheaper and has more benefits to our economy without the need of further analysis.

"Every shadow minister has been charged with finding wasteful spending and redundant programmes"

It's exactly what Obama is saying he'll do, which is good that government will have a root and branch shake up of its spending. Make cuts to ID Cards, air-craft carriers, NHS computers, DNA databases and the Lisbon Treaty before you start analysing things we don't want and don't need in any event and the exercise of not having to add those things up will save even more money.

"The importance of transparency:"

I couldn't agree more, and well done but how many people will that need, what would be the cost of it and who would be responsible?

As for wasteful training I take it this means Common Purpose is being kicked into touch ?

No Jack, any savings in health or education could merely be invested elsewhere for better returns, rather than being spent wastefully

Only if you're silly enough to believe that the government is currently operating at optimal efficiency, and spends no money in a wasteful way that could be combatted without compromising services. That's Labour's argument, and it's pure folly.

How about a task force behind the scenes, headed by John Redwood and Michael Fallon, to monitor the shadow ministers' efforts. Hopefully Ruth Lea and Jeff Randall would come on board too if they were asked.

Why are you a Conservative Jack?

Like to see you reduce spending at a time of falling tax receipts and increased welfare spending Chad? That has been beyond any modern government anywhere as far as I'm aware.
Cameron is asking every minister to look at savings, that is entirely the right thing to do. In the event they are able to reduce spending I would be delighted , but more likely the absolute best we can hope for is budget freezes in certain areas. In others there will need to be increases I expect.
This is going to be difficult politically because I don't believe the majority of people grasp the consequences of the massive scale of government borrowing.

Surprised they don`t know already where savings can be made. Regional Assemblies and all the other useless quangos for a start. Trouble is, a lot of councillors including Tories, are happy to serve on these useless bodies (to which they have not been elected) and take the money.

Am sure Ruth Lea and Jeff Randall, referred to above, can provide plenty more targets so the research has already been done.

Is this something that will be applied nationally throughout all Conservative local authorities too?

Edward 12.40. To reinforce your point

East of England Regional Assembly:
The Special Responsibility Allowance scheme for 2008/09 is detailed below:

Chair of Regional Assembly/Executive Committee £13,399
EERA Deputy Chairs - Community Stakeholders Group, Labour Group and Liberal Democrat Group £9,213
Leader of Independent Group £1,675
Chair of Regional Planning Panel £9,213
Chair of EERA/EEDA Liaison Panel £3,351
Chair of Housing and Sustainable Communities Panel £3,351

Are the Conservative Chairs going to vote themselves out of their cosy allowances?

"Like to see you reduce spending at a time of falling tax receipts and increased welfare spending"

Catch up Malcolm!

Reduced spending is coming. The government announced this in the PBR (Andrew Lilico commented how harsh they were at the time).

So the Government, Cameron and myself all support reduced spending, we simply differ on the amount of reduced spending needed to make a positive difference.

All I am saying is that Cameron's spending reduction proposals (undefined as a % but we do know they are >0 and < the new super low govt figures) are too similar to the government's to make any impact.

Efficiency savings will produce only minimal savings in the short term. Of course, the entire government machine could be more much efficient but it requires close attention to detail to implement the necessary changes.

The only way to make deep and immediate cuts in expenditure is to identify those activities in which government involvement is not absolutely required and cut them out altogether. This will, inevitably, result in quite wide scale redundancies amongst public servants and this is going to be politically difficult in a recession. So the other side of the coin must be to reorganise the tax system in a way that both simplifies it and simulates productive industry. The reduction of Employers’ NI and corporation tax, particularly the former (a tax on jobs) must be the favourites.

GB£, do you really think that you could convince the public that "cutting" public spending would be a good thing? You think it would be, but Joe Average doesn't understand things like you do. He will only understand concepts like whether there are fewer schools for his children or hospitals to treat his mother's illness.

Whether you like it or not, at a time when more people are going to the State asking for handouts and those who aren't are afraid they might have to, how things are presented is important. "Savings" imply money was spent poorly so it doesn't matter if it is shifted elsewhere. "Cuts" suggest that spending will be indiscriminately reduced. Again, the fact that would be a misrepresentation wouldn't stop a voter back-lash.

State spending is not seen as an evil boogeyman that can be culled without any harm to real people - there's no time to wean people off the idea that government spending = good. That can only be done after the recovery. So it's best to use messages like "spending is all very well, but it's unfunded, temporary, etc". Insisting people see things your way at a time like this won't work.

"every shadow minister to go through their budget line by line, to root out wasteful spending, and to abolish programmes that have served their purposes and are no longer necessary."

Poor Andrew Mitchell will have nothing left!

I should also add that there are things that can be cut out fully, such as ID cards. But those again should be identified as savings.

Dave_at_home wrote: This will, inevitably, result in quite wide scale redundancies amongst public servants and this is going to be politically difficult in a recession.

It is truely shocking that wasting taxpayers money is not considered 'difficult'!

I am sure it isn't 'difficult' because the poor tax payer just thinks 'they will just waste it on something else' - so unless it means more money in their pocket, they don't really care!

Like train fares -- they go up on the excuse that 'the travellers must pay more of the burden than the tax payer' -- ok, so where did the taxpayers saving go?

Modern admin should cost pennies - computers should have reduced costs massively - where has the taxpayers savings gone?

It is transparency that will change this - firstly the risk of exposure will stop many people from being wasteful, secondly people will be enabled to question why some things are being done at all.

A truely supurb policy.

Extending Freedom of Information to cover Quangos would be another smart move.

"GB£, do you really think that you could convince the public that "cutting" public spending would be a good thing?"

The government did it in the PBR. I didn't see any protests on the streets the day after, did you?

It's a bit of sad indictment of the shadow cabinet that it needs to be told this.

Really Chad? Do you really believe what you wrote at 13.51.? How many people do you think realised that public spending was being cut after the PBR? I would suggest the number is it's negligable. The reason why it's timed for when it is is because it AFTER the next election.As always Brown is taking this country for fools and it looks like he's going to get away with it.
If Labour win they will find it extremely difficult to maintain spending growth @1.1%.I doubt they will even try.

Cutting waste is good but it doesn't create anything other than cost savings.it is only half the answer.

A big stimulus is needed - but not the sort favoured by Gordon.

Govt needs to cut red tape and taxes and it needs to restore incentives for innovation and wealth creation.

If that means a New Deal with Europe then so be it!

John Gale you hit the nail on the head...

Nobody outside the Conservative bubble has the first clue who Andrew Mitchell is...

As well as fundamentally rolling back the state we need to roll in some big hitters into the shadow cabinet and shadow minsterial posts..

Only then will we have the clout to get the message of common sense Conservative values - over to an electorate who are switching off in droves...

" How many people do you think realised that public spending was being cut after the PBR?"

The public aren't all as dozy as you Malc! ;-)

" The reason why it's timed for when it is is because it AFTER the next election"

Indeed, like the EPP pledge in 2005, and again for 2009.

It is hard to trust these politicians, isn't it?

I may be dozy Chad I just don't to twist everything to suite my prejudices.

..only because you are too dozy!

Kidding! Lighten up Malc. Merry Xmas and remember to attack the argument, not the man.

Will the good work by the Taxpayers Alliance be used in any way to guide the Shadow Cabinet in their diligent searches?

Transparency? Steady, steady
WOT??? No more slush funds, the Govt will come to the grinding halt....

I can`1t speak for education but I use the health service regularly and as far as I can see it needs more money spent on it not less.
Far too many of our hospitals still have far too few staff and poor facilities and we also have the scandal of many people being denid drugs they need simply through cost.
Stop thinking you can use the health service as a cash cow to fund tax cuts or buy more arms for the forces because you will not be able to do it. Its just fantasy!!
By the way silly malcolm. I am a Conservative with a conscionse who doesn`t believe we should just ignore the sick, the old and those in need and just walk on by. What kind of Conservative are you? You seem like one of the nasty brigade!!!

Thanks Jack. In all the hundreds of posts you've put up on this site I'm struggling to think of one which was positive about the Conservative Party, its thoughts , policies or actions.
You're not bright enough to be a troll I think so I am genuinely curious to know why you seem to support a party you claim to dislike so much.
I know one or two Southend Conservatives ,they've never heard of you. Do you actually do anything for the party or just sit on the sidelines making inane and often barely comprehensible comments?

Malcolm. What sort of Conservative are you?

David Cooper at 12:03:

"How about a task force behind the scenes, headed by John Redwood and Michael Fallon, to monitor the shadow ministers' efforts. Hopefully Ruth Lea and Jeff Randall would come on board too if they were asked".

Yes, something along these lines is vitally necessary, though I would be disappointed if they had not already carried out this exercise.

A fairly mainstream one I think Jack. I generally support the leadership, want the economy run responsibly,a foreign policy based on Britain's strategic interests, support the work of the police, want the state to be kept within reasonable bounds, want an education system that produces decent, disciplined young people who are prepared for adult life, deeply sceptical about our membership of the EU, a very controlled immigration policy, and a rsponsible attitude to the enviroment that protects as far as possible Britain's magnificent rural heritage.And I'm a devout monarchist.
What sort of Conservative are you?

Nothing about the NHS there Malcolm. Are you one of those mainstream Conservatives who want to see it destroyed. Who regard a state run health service inconsistant with Conservative values?

I'd prefer to hear the word MASSIVE attached to the word "cuts" when associated with public spending.

The first place I'd look is to every county and district council in the country. I'd find every person in a job with an "official-sounding" title and I'd look to see if they could be immediately replaced with a person earning half the wage, who'd actually do twice the job.

The culture of "silly wages" in the public sector is out of control. If these are incredibly-demanding jobs requiring people with rare and valuable skill-sets, fine. But I've rarely seen that to be the case.

Jack, Malcolm,

I'm a little unwilling to dive into the middle of your discussion, but felt that I must due to the way that the Party is being misrepresented here.

Jack, even you must admit that the Conservatives have now been repeatedly shown by polling evidence to be the party most trusted on the issues surrounding the NHS.

But don't just trust words and polls - grass-roots actions speak far louder. Next Sunday my ward Branch will be presenting a cheque to doctors from our local Health Centre for £300 that we have raised this year to help them buy diagnostic equipment to aid in the early detection of cancer, outside of the NHS budget.

For more, see here. But please don't try and tell me that Conservatives don't care about healthcare provision.

What on earth is Jack Stone going on about? No-one has said anything about cutting NHS services at any point. He seems to be making something up and then saying how bad it is. Pure spin typical of Labour.

On R4 this morning peston was giving the old "tories wouldn't have done anything different" line.

I think the real issue here is that if the figures published by the government over the past decade were true, accurate and representative then there maybe some truth that things weren't working out too badly and had the tories have acheived them, maybe they wouldn't have felt too bad about things.

However the published government figures are being shown to have been deeply misleading - the public have been suckered - wealth, growth, unemployment, new-jobs etc -- none of the figures meaning what was thought at the time. It is now clear that 'Stealth Taxes' barely even scratched the surface of the extent of the deception.

There maybe some questions to answer on why it took so long to come to light (or were the public just not listening?) - but maybe there is scope for the tories to have an image of what things would be like if they had been in power?

I know I bang on about 'big pictures' and 'visions' - but the presentation in the media keeps coming across as a 'difference in detail' between what labour did and are doing, and what the tories would have done/are doing - which I sincerely hope is not the case... If it seems that way to me, then how is it received by floaters and labour supporters?

A decade of labour in power brings us here. Where would (and will) a decade of conservatives in power get us to? What will 'toryland' look like?

Reviewing budgets for savings is absolutely the right thing to do - I think all spending should have a published business case - which could go along side the 'transparency' website.

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